Fellini’s Faces

I watched the Criterion Collection’s latest edition of Fellini’s Amarcord and–surprise!–it looks and sounds better than my VHS copy.  I’m so happy to have a nice copy of this great movie I’ve loved since I first saw it, the year it was released in the US.

One of the Criterion extras is a 45-minute series of interviews with various people associated with the film—a childhood friend, his co-writer, the actress who played Gradisca.  One of these interviewees (I think, the cinematographer) notes how important faces were to Federico Fellini.  Anyone who’s watched any of the director’s films would know that he’s fascinated with unusual facial features, but this person points out that Fellini would travel to a certain town outside Rome to search for the ideal faces for his movies.  The faces were the important thing; the voices of other actors could be dubbed in later.

After watching Amarcord and the interviews, I dug out one of my favorite coffee-table books, Fellini’s Faces (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1982).  Pages and pages of black and white photos: “More than 400 pictures from Fellini’s photo archives.”  I hadn’t thumbed through the book in years, but I remembered a remarkable number of these faces (but I forget where I set my coffee down), which is testament to Fellini’s eye for memorable faces.

Two Fellinis-on-Criterion down (I also have La Strada).  Would like to get Nights of Cabiria, now out-of-print and going up in price.  Also 8 1/2.  Probably I Vitelloni and Juliet of the Spirits.  There’s time.  I have LPs of nearly all of the Nino Rota soundtracks.  Oughta have the movies, too, I reckon.


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